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Macy Halford. My Upmost: A Devotional Memoir.

Macy Halford. My Upmost: A Devotional Memoir. New York. Alford A. Knopf ©2017.

This is an unusual memoir, but an effective one. The author weaves her life and her growing Christianity around the devotional book, My Upmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. She started reading the book when she was fifteen years old. She takes it with her on her many travels. As her life experiences mount up so does her understanding of Oswald. She grew up in fundamentalist First Baptist Church of Dallas, but she quickly outgrows its narrow message. The author is an excellent story teller, but she sometimes gets lost in the weeds. The book is highly enlightening, but the best chapters trace the changes for the worse at First Baptist Church of Dallas. When the giant screens went it, the author went out.

Macy Halford sent me back to my own copy of My Upmost for His Highest, which I had read very casually several years ago. Needless to say with her guidance I found new treasures. Having written a spiritual memoir myself, I am intrigued with her method and her unrelenting scholarship. My Upmost: A Devotional Memoir, is a good read, but not a casual one.

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Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography. Harold Ivan Smith.

Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography. Harold Ivan Smith. Westminster John Knox Press. ©2017

My review is also on Amazon.com.

This is truly an outstanding look into the spirituality of a remarkable player on the international stage. Eleanor Roosevelt discovered early that her narrow Episcopal faith could not contain her growing acceptance of the many faith traditions that she encountered. She believed that since we were all created by the same God that we should treat each other as brothers and sisters. She believed as did St. Paul, “That we are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The one glaring flaw in her spirituality was perhaps due to her strict Protestant upbringing and the aristocratic family circles in which she moved. She had a strain of anti-Semitic misgivings. She overcame them to a large extent later in life. She always regretted not doing more for the Jews.

Eleanor had a truly miserable childhood. She was forced to become her own person. She had the saying from Saint Francis of Assisi posted above her desk and she carried another copy in her purse, “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.”  Eleanor’s brand of personal Christianity won her unfaltering condemnation from the religious fundamentalists who were certain that she had not been “born again.”   According to Smith, “Eleanor took the Bible too seriously to take it literally.” Although FDR’s unfaithfulness hurt her deeply, they came to an understanding that allowed them to become the world’s most influential couple ever. Louis Howe is the one who saw Eleanor’s potential and helped her hone her skills as a leader. He was also a major player in FDR’s success.

Eleanor: A Spiritual Biography, may get a little wordy at times; however, it is an outstanding work.

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Say Something Nice Day is June 1. Join the Celebration

Say Something Nice Day on June 1st..  It is not too far away to start getting ready. This year it seems to be more important than ever. The recent political campaign and the Twitter compulsion of our new president have produced an atmosphere that lends itself to intemperate remarks, but people of good will are up to the challenge.

I Googled the day recently just to get an idea of what is on the web about it. I was amazed at the number of posts and the number of national calendars that now list it. Chase Calendar of Events was the first. It is now listed by Daysoftheyear.com, Timeanddate.com, Nationaldaycalendar.com, Checkiday.com, Upto.com, Randomacts.org, and Georgiacollegecampus.com. It is also on the Hilton Hotels Calendar .There well may be others. If so, send me an email. We really want to see it recognized and put into practice.

We applaud the Cities of North Charleston, Charleston and Cayce for their proclamations. Mayors Summey, Tecklenburg and Partin understand the importance of uplifting communication.

We also want to spread the word about Say Something Nice Sunday, the first Sunday in June. Every church, denomination, religious organization or group fostering greater harmony and goodwill are encouraged to join. There are no fees or anything to buy. We are just trying to make the world a safer and happier place to live.

Everyone can use a word of encouragement, a smile or a pat on the back. That is our purpose. Everybody is somebody. You are unique, one of a kind. You make our lives better. That is the message we want to send. Please join us,

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Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges Elected Pres. of Baptist Seminary of Richmond

I met Dr. Bridges at the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York State in the summer of 1991. She was the Chaplain of the Week. She is one of the many reasons I fell in love with the place. Her sermon, “Grace upon Grace,” describes my life and has stayed with me to this day. She grew up in the area above Greer, South Carolina. Her father was a well-known mountain preacher. At the time Joan Lipscomb Solomon, a classmate at Furman with me, was writing the Daily Religion Column for the Chautauqua Daily. Joan and I met Linda for lunch one day and had a great time exploring our South Carolina connections. I have continued to follow Linda’s career and her outstanding Christian service.

“On Tuesday morning (March 21), trustees voted unanimously to welcome Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges as the third president of BTSR. Dr. Bridges was selected after a comprehensive nationwide search led by a BTSR committee consisting of trustees, faculty and staff, with assistance from AGB Search. She will serve as the third president of BTSR, and comes to the seminary at the culmination of BTSR’s 25th anniversary.

In her comments, Dr. Bridges vowed to, “listen first, revere the symbols of the past, all the while ruthlessly renewing and revisioning theological education for the future.” Rev. Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges will transition to her new role as President-Elect in May 2017, and will officially begin as president of BTSR on July 1, 2017.

The trustees at BTSR have chosen wisely. I am thrilled with the choice. She joins Dr. Molly Marshall, President of Central Baptist Seminary, as a second woman president of a Baptist Theological Seminary. “The mills of the Gods grind exceedingly slowly but exceedingly fine.”

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